Back to Index

The US Supreme Court: The Federalist Society

Rob Gaudet answers Philip Terzian's question about Abe Fortas: "Abe Fortas was a good man who knew the meaning of social justice. I am not convinced that Clarence Thomas stands for anything so noble. At most, he represents a skin color, a fancy law degree, and the ultra-conservative Federalist Society. That is a rare combination, but none of the qualifications particularly impress me.

I would rather have someone picked because he was a friend of LBJ than because he was a member of the Federalist Society. I met a woman lawyer at Baker Botts in Dallas who worked for the Reagan White House and vetted candidates for the federal judiciary. If they belonged to the Federalist Society, as she did, then it was a green flag for the nomination to be put forward. She created this formula and, according to her, the White House and the Attorney General wholeheartedly adopted it. She worked for both the White House and the US Department of Justice.

I think her litmus test was outrageous and ensures that our judges will be the type of people who, rather than think for themselves, have predetermined views on a wide variety of topics. In my opinion, this is nearly unethical. Politicians are not supposed to ask judges to predetermine issues but, effectively, that is what the Republican administrations have done".

My questions: I suppose Baker Butts is connected with Jim Baker III, whom we discussed earlier. It sounds as though the Federalist Society has a secret power comparable to that of the Skull and Bones Society, a skeleton in our political closet. What says Hank Greely?

Ronald Hilton - 9/9/02